18 Shot Challenge

By Chris Foley

Golf is one of the few games that is not practiced on the actual field of play. Games like football, basketball, tennis, and hockey are all practiced on the court, rink or field where the game is actually played. Unfortunately, in golf, the majority of our practice occurs at a driving range. Most of the time the driving range has no resemblance to the golf course. This environment typically doesn’t lead to great performance on the golf course.

This golf season in each issue of Tee Times, we will present a practice plan, drill, or game that is designed to help you create a great practice situation and help you practice for performance.

Practicing for performance must include the following elements.
1. The drill, game, or exercise needs to create awareness and be engaging. Things like changing targets frequently, creating different sensations or feels, and pushing you out of your comfort zone
2. The practice needs to be measurable. When we measure our practice, it gives us a true gage of how we are doing. From day to day we can track improvement or regression.
3. There needs to be consequence in practice. We need to compete while we practice. This is what truly bridges the gap between the range and the golf course. The practice experience needs to be closer to the actual golf course experience.

This month’s exercise is one from Pia Nielson and Lynn Marriott at Vision54. It is a great practice routine when you have limited time and want to hit a variety of clubs in your bag.

In doing this exercise, each shot should be hit at a specific target with every shot being graded on a scale of 1 to 5. A score of 5 would be a shot that was hit exactly as intended. Each shot should be hit with the routine that you would use in a competitive round.

The 18 Shot Challenge works this way.
• Hit three shots with three different clubs to three different targets.
• Turn a club around and hit three shots from your non-dominate side (Left hand if you are right handed) to three different targets.
• Hit a 9 iron and pay attention to the exact spot the ball lands. Next hit a 7, 6, 5, hybrid, fairway wood and driver, landing and carrying to the same spot that the 9 iron landed.
• Hit three shots with a seven iron. Hitting one off the toe, one off the heal and one with the leading edge.
• Hit three shots with three different clubs to three different targets.

Following the 18 shots, add up your score. Use this as a gage with each practice session you utilize the 18 Hole Challenge.

To add an element of competition to this exercise, practice with a friend. Each person should alternate hitting the prescribed shot. The player who hits the shot closest to the target wins that “shot”. After the 18 shots, the player with the most shots closest is the winner.

Utilizing this exercise helps create a more on course like situation. The more we can simulate real golf like situations the more transferable practice becomes.

I welcome your feedback and questions. Please contact me at cfoley@ChrisFoleyGolf.com, 218-820-9426. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisFoleyGolf and look for more great practice tips on #PracticeForPerformance Thursdays.

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